OWRI director moves to research

March 28, 2012
Neil Shay
Oregon State University's Neil Shay examines vines at OSU's Woodhall Vineyard near Alpine, Ore. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The director of Oregon State University's Oregon Wine Research Institute will step down this summer to return to full-time research and teaching at OSU. 

Neil Shay joined OSU in 2010 as the first director of the Oregon Wine Research Institute and a professor of food science. His research focuses on how bioactive compounds in fruits and vegetables play a role in modulating chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Internationally recognized for the impact and significance of his research in nutrition, Shay serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Nutrition, the world's highest-ranked journal for experimental nutrition research.

Shay will continue as director while the university searches for a successor. His return to research will be as a professor in OSU's Department of Food Science and Technology where he will maintain his laboratory program and teach in the department's undergraduate and graduate programs.

"I can understand Neil's desire to continue his outstanding research relating to phytochemicals and once again to be able to share his rich base of knowledge and experience with our students," said Sonny Ramaswamy, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. "We appreciate his service as the institute's first director. Given the alignment of much of his research interest with grapes and wine, I expect he will make important additional contributions as a member of the institute's scientific team."

The Oregon Wine Research Institute was established as a partnership among Oregon's robust wine industry, state government and OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences. OSU's College of Business is a participant in the institute as well.

The institute builds partnerships that coordinate a wide range of research across the university and state that are specific to Oregon's wine and grape industry. Faculty in the institute communicate new research-based knowledge to grape growers and winemakers to help ensure that Oregon continues to produce top-quality wines.

As director, Shay led the hiring process for two new OSU faculty, one each in viticulture and enology. A comprehensive five-year strategic plan was developed for the institute and a pilot project grants program was initiated. Along with the Oregon Wine Board, the institute will co-sponsor the 2012 annual meeting of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture this June in Portland.

"The strategic vision for the institute developed under Neil's leadership will continue to guide its important collaborative research and its outreach to the industry," said David Adelsheim, one of the founders of Oregon's grape and wine industry who helped establish the Oregon Wine Research Institute. "We wish Neil well as he returns to the laboratory and classroom, where he has established a noteworthy record during his career."

Author: Peg Herring
Source: Sonny Ramaswamy, David Adelsheim